NHTSA — Power Train: Automatic Transmission Problems

2003 Saturn Vue (Page 1 of 10)


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
3 / 0
Average Mileage:
54,313 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2003 Saturn Vue transmission problems

transmission problem

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2003 Saturn Vue Owner Comments (Page 1 of 10)

problem #200

Feb 012010

Vue 4-cyl

  • 130,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Vue. The contact stated that the vehicle failed to accelerate and reverse. The failure occurred on two occasions. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic where it was diagnosed that the transmission needed to be repaired. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 130,000. Updated 12/2/14 updated 5/11/2015

- Bronx, NY, USA

problem #199

Jan 162006

Vue 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 37,707 miles
2003 Saturn Vue. Consumer writes in regards to vehicle transmission issues in March of 2004, the consumer received a letter from Saturn stating there was a problem with vehicles equipped with vti transmissions and it would require repair or replacement. The transmission was replaced at that time by Saturn. However, since then the transmission has been replaced four times. GM informed the consumer, they would charge him half for replacing the transmission. Also, the link bushings were replaced.

- Woodbury, CT, USA

problem #198

Jul 082009


  • 77,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Vue. The contact stated that the vehicle stalled while driving 45 mph. Additionally, the front driver and passenger side doors were unable to be opened from the inside of the vehicle. The vehicle was towed to the dealer for diagnostic testing where the dealer advised that the transmission would need replacing as well as the door hinges. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The transmission was replaced but the doors were not repaired. The failure mileage was 77,000 and the current mileage was 106,000.

- Marietta, GA, USA

problem #197

Aug 172011


  • miles


I bought a 2003 Saturn Vue in 2008 with 120,000 miles on it. It had a 3 month power tam warranty. 1 month after that expired the transmission went out. Furious, I called the Saturn dealership. They were amazing. They understood and put a new transmission in, paid for the towing and even reimbursed me for the rental car expense. The new transmission went out 3 years later, and I put less than 20,000 miles on it. I was denied any assistance from GM because of the mileage on the car. Mileage" I bought it used! now I am stuck with a car that is worth nothing but the spare parts?! there is a long history of this model blowing out transmission and GM does nothing about it!? this is not an owner's problem, its a manufacturer problem and they offer 0 back for a trade in rebate"! this is impossible to believe and only further proves that the american auto industry cuts corners as well as scams its customers. This is a shameful company, and I hope this complaint is heard. I'm sure I'm not the only one.

- Minneapolis, MN, USA

problem #196

Aug 202011


  • 89,774 miles
We purchased our 2003 Saturn new. The transmission was replaced right after we purchased it. We have had trouble with the car not wanting to get in to gear along with the ignition not turning on. The vehicle has been having trouble getting into gear for quite sometime. We had it services once with no transmission problems seen. We were told the ignition would cost us 600 plus to repair. It only has around 86000 miles on it and am very disappointed to see all the reviews/complaints on this model. No one is being held accountable for their actions. My daughter was heading to college on Saturday, Aug 20, 2011. The day before she was leaving for a 2 hour trip, the car would not go in drive.

- Cedar Park, TX, USA

problem #195

Jul 012011


  • 52,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Vue. The contact stated that the vehicle would not respond when placed in a particular gear. As a result, the vehicle would not move. The dealer and manufacturer denied any assistance with repairs to the vehicle. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileages were 52,000.

- East Meadow, NY, USA

problem #194

Jul 292009


  • 90,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Vue. The contact stated while driving various speeds the vehicle would start to jerk without any warning. The vehicle was inspected by a dealer who advised him that he would need to replace the transmission. The transmission was replaced on three occasions within 1.5 years. The failure mileage was approximately 90,000.

- Santa Anna, CA, USA

problem #193

Jul 192011

Vue 4-cyl

  • 40,000 miles
My wife & I bought a used 03 Saturn Vue with only 39,000 miles on Jun 20. Great condition until Jul 19, the car started acting strange. We took it to a mechanic and they though it may be the transmission to take it to a transmission specialist. We did & sure enough it is. We are on a tight budget and unable to even get another loan. We came across a website that the 03 Saturn Vue had a recall and a lawsuit. Why are these dealers still selling Saturn's with a defective transmission? we made our 1st car payment on Jul 15 and now it is just sitting there. Any advice would be greatly appreciative!

- Montgomery, AL, USA

problem #192

Jul 082006


  • 45,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Vue. The contact stated that while stopped at a light the vehicle began to shake. Also, the contact also stated that the vehicle would momentarily hesitate before accelerating. The failure occurred intermittently. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic for diagnostics. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 45,000.

- Pasadena, MD, USA

problem #191

May 312011

Vue 4-cyl

  • 86,013 miles
We own a 2003 Saturn Vue that has 86,013 miles on it. We purchased the vehicle new at the local Saturn dealership. On May 31, 2011 while we were on the highway our car would not go over 10 mph. We took it into the dealership the next day and was told the vti transmission was out.

- Wichita, KS, USA

problem #190

Mar 252011


  • 140,000 miles


This is regarding my 2003 Saturn Vue. The vehicle has about 140K miles on it and the transmission was making noise at about exactly 95K, the transmission finally gave out without no indication, just coasted off the road until the car finally came to a stop. The car only idles I have no gears. After I called Saturn to report this, they indicated to take it to a Saturn dealership to have it diagnosed, I informed them that I could not drive the vehicle and they indicated that I could have it towed. I told them I wasn't going to incur the expense of towing for someone to inform me that the transmission is bad. At this point, still waiting for Saturn to call to let me know if there is anything they will do, I am not hopeful, she indicated to me that the warranty ran out at 100K or March of this year and it was may when I contacted them. With all the problems that everyone has with the transmissions you would think they would honor something...

- Robinson, IL, USA

problem #189

May 182011


  • 102,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Vue. The contact stated while driving the vehicle failed to accelerate. The vit transmission failed and the dealer stated that it could be replaced; however, it may or may not last beyond 20,000 miles. The dealer guaranteed the repair for one year or 12,000 miles with exceeds the contacts commute. The manufacturer advised the contact that they would give her $5,000 towards a new vehicle; however, she could not afford another vehicle. The failure mileage was 102,000.

- Carmel, NY, USA

problem #188

May 222010

Vue 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 87,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Vue. The contact stated that the vehicle would not move forward or in reverse. The vehicle was parked and left idle for several days before becoming responsive yet, the failure recurred intermittently and became progressively worse. In addition, there were gasoline fumes entering into the interior cabin of the vehicle and the contact had to drive with the windows open to avoid becoming sick. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer who advised that the transmission needed to be replaced. The dealer informed her that even if the transmission was replaced, the failure could possibly recur. The vehicle was not repaired. The contact called the manufacturer who verified the dealer's advice. The current mileage was approximately 100,000 and the failure mileage was approximately 87,000. Updated 07/15/11

- Prattville, AL, USA

problem #187

Mar 012011


  • 106,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Vue. While driving 55 mph, the contact noticed that the check engine warning light illuminated on the left side of the instrument panel and on the right side it displayed reduce speed. The dealer advised the contact that she purchased the vehicle as is and offered no further assistance. The manufacturer offered no assistance as well. The vehicle was taken to a private mechanic who advised the contact to have the transmission replaced. No repairs were performed. The current mileage was approximately 108,445 and the failure mileage was 106,000.

- Joliet , IL, USA

problem #186

Feb 132011

Vue 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 69,800 miles
The contact owns 2003 Saturn Vue. While driving approximately 70 mph the vehicle decelerated and the speed dropped to 30 mph. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic where the failure could not be diagnosed. The failure continued to occur intermittently. The contact stated that there was a grinding noise in the front end of the vehicle and shaking in the steering wheel. The contact stated the vehicle was taken to another independent mechanic who stated that the transmission needed to be replaced. The failure was occurring consistently. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 69,800. Updated 04/25/11

- Lake Forest, CA, USA

problem #185

Apr 012011


  • 91,000 miles
2003 Saturn Vue cvt/vti transmission problems. Already "fixed" at a Saturn dealer 2 years ago after complete failure while driving on a curvy 55 mph country road. An accident was possible at that time and luckily I had a parking lot pull off to access. I am the original owner and was never notified of a highly apparent know defect. This Saturn was involved in an accident because the transmission once again failed without notice and only after a Saturn dealership "fixed" this problem 2 years prior and not many miles later. Luckily, I was returning home after returning my 7 year old daughter to her mother just ten minutes and 6 miles earlier. If she was in the back seat it is highly likely she would have been very seriously injured or dead. The passenger was injured and rushed to the hospital. I was banged up as the driver. This vti transmission is an epic failure! how many people need to lose their lives before something is done. I was completely unaware of the widespread problem until I did a little research on the internet. Beyond shocking, to say the least. I am contacting an attorney and inquiring about being stuck with this unsafe lemon. I have been referred by Saturn to a local GM dealer for service via mail, so I will start there. I am dismayed that there has been nothing done with this even after a class action suit was awarded which I was unaware of until tonight 4/6/11. Can you live with the guilt of knowing about an ongoing and evident problem and the lives that will likely be lost due to known problem. Why in the world has there not been a recall on this problem. Toyota has a few gas pedal issues and bingo. I would rather be driving one of those after seeing and experiencing what I have recently. How many of these ticking time bombs are still out on the road. I see several almost daily. There is another form of a domestic terrorist and it is the poor unassuming Saturn drivers. This car fell shy of being a total. Insurance companies will have interest.

- Ky, KY, USA

problem #184

Mar 132011

Vue 4-cyl

  • 78,500 miles
We purchased a 2003 Saturn Vue from an individual on February 14, 2011. We had the car almost one month and we were out to eat on a Sunday in hendersonville tn when my husband goes to put our Vue into reverse to pull out of a stall and it would back up it just would not go forward. We thought maybe it was low on transmission fluid. We filled it with some and it still didnt move forward only reverse. Well we call for it to be towed to the nearest Saturn dealer in goodlettsville tn. Now GM is giving us the runaround about giving us any money at all on this vehicle. We further found out upon investigation on the internet that Saturn admitted there was troubles with the transmission but they were never made to recall these transmissions. Now as a consumer that makes me mad, we went on craigslist and there are a ton of these being sold right here in Tennessee. More suckers that have no clue what they are getting into. What if my husband were to have been in rush hour traffic that day and a semi rammed into him because he could only go backwards"??????" this is a safety issue!!!!!!! I am mad as a consumer and I dont want anyone else to go through this nightmare!

- Westmoreland , TN, USA

problem #183

Jul 092008


  • 75,000 miles
I bought a 2003 Saturn Vue new in 2003, in 2006 the transmission went out, the Saturn dealer ship replaced it. Then in 2008 the transmission went out again and the dealer ship said it was know longer under warranty. Why can they not recall these SUV's to replace the transmission it cost 4500 dollars if you can find one. My car still looks like new but just doesn't run, I'm am so discussed and now Saturn is no longer in business so are we just out of luck?

- Russellville, KY, USA

problem #182

Feb 042011


  • 124,000 miles
My 2003 Saturn Vue seems to be having transmission problems. It is slow to start, lack of power, and have noticed while in gear RPM's up to 5000 - 6000. After it sits it seems to be able to change gears but RPM's still too high when it does shift. I took it to one shop that was not willing to work on it because they were not familiar enough with Saturn, he did tell me that they ran a diagnostics test and it came back with a "transmission code". it is now at another shop for further diagnosis.

- Mars Hill, NC, USA

problem #181

Nov 262010


  • 109,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Vue. While driving approximately 25 mph, the contact attempted to decelerate but the vehicle would not downshift. The contact then attempted to accelerate but the vehicle would not shift gears. The vehicle was pulled over and towed home. The contact replaced the transmission but the failure continued. The vehicle was not taken to have the failure diagnosed. The failure and current mileages were 109,000.

- Big Stone Gap, VA, USA

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